The dissertation will be a major researched work that will present new knowledge as related to the broad field of Computational Media, Arts and Cultures. It should include both theory and practice components. Given the scope of the research fields involved in CMAC the work may be disciplinary, interdisciplinary and/or transdisciplinary in nature. The researcher’s committee will reflect to some degree the differing branches of knowledge that inform the argument that the dissertation and related body of practice is articulating. The Dissertation should illuminate the relation of theory to practice in some section of the text. In particular, a student’s research might articulate a hybrid form which combines knowledge from multiple disparate fields in a novel manner. The diversity of the committee membership should in some ways reflect knowledge of different areas of research that the researcher is exploring.

The written and practice components of the dissertation should both be substantive and determined in ongoing consultation with the committee. At least 150+ written pages are typical for the written component. The practice component could be a substantial computational media exhibition, performance, installation, or research project (or set of projects) that builds upon ongoing project-based work of the student, as demonstrated in the portfolio submitted as part of the Exams.

No matter what form the project takes, it must be presented publicly in some way if it has an exhibition or performance element. The student will be responsible for finding the space to show their work, if applicable. Pending availability, up to $1000 funding can be requested for the completion of the work from the CMAC program office. The student must submit an itemized budget for this purpose. Students are also welcome to apply for funding from other internal and/or external sources. Potential sites for the exhibition/presentation might include:  The Ruby, The Nasher Museum, Galleries on other parts of the Duke Campus—the Jameson Gallery, Power Plant Gallery, Chapel Gallery in Perkins Library, or a gallery in the local area etc. Raleigh (or museums in Raleigh), given that appropriate documentation is provided for the Committee. We may also employ space in the Smith Warehouse where appropriate. Online and/or virtual projects may also be an appropriate alternative.


The Graduate School provides a series of exacting rules of form for the dissertation, which is submitted using a detailed template that they provide. See The Graduate School's guidelines for more information on the standard template required, timing, and other details.  https://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/theses-and-dissertations

Because we expect both a written component and a practice component, most students include some form of documentation of the practice component in the written thesis to ensure it is represented in the dissertation archive. Time-based or other interactive elements should also be documented on a linked website and/or other digital resource. Potentially a digital insert should also be created to be included in the Dissertation itself in the form of a permanent link. Students are also strongly encouraged to update the online portfolio created during the Preliminary Exam with dissertation-related materials as well.